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Fatalities rise in cellphone tower industry

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently said cellphone tower contractors and companies need to do more to keep workers safe, which includes complying with current safety standards to prevent accidents. 

OSHA reported an increase in injuries and fatalities among cellphone tower workers in the United States despite many of the accidents being preventable. The tower industry saw an increase in workplace fatalities during the last 10 years due to cellphone carriers upgrading their networks to 3G technology. 

In 2013, there were 13 fatalities. A majority of the fatal accidents were due to falls. Injuries and fatalities among tower workers have also been caused by falling objects, equipment failures and structural collapses. 

To address the serious risks tower workers face, OSHA sent a letter to cellphone tower contractors and the companies that hire them to upgrade their networks. The letter said they need to make sure they are complying with safety laws and standards to prevent falls and other accidents in the tower industry. OSHA said they sent the letter to warn companies about the risks tower workers face and why it is important to follow safety standards to prevent accidents and injuries. 

Tower workers should know the risks they face as well as what they can do to prevent injuries caused by falls, equipment and falling objects. Injured workers should know they can file a workers' compensation claim after being injured on-the-job. The tower company contractor and the company they are working for can be held liable for workplace accidents. 

Source: NASDAQ, "OSHA Warns Companies After Rise in Cellphone Tower Deaths," Ryan Knutson and Melanie Trottman, Feb. 11, 2014

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